The United Nations U.N. is an international organization whose role is to maintain international peace and safety, protect natural human rights, dispatch humanitarian support, and promote sustainable growth to uphold international law in all its 193 member countries. The Russo-Ukrainian war that started on February 24, 2022, is the latest international conflict for the status of Crimea and regions of Donbas, internationally recognized as parts of Ukraine. The full-scale of Russia into Ukraine was aimed at reclaiming the two regions previously annexed from Russia. After World War II, the U.N. was formed to maintain global peace and security, preserve human rights, and forge better living standards by promoting friendly relations between countries. The United Nations General Assembly UNGA directed the U.N. Human Rights Council UNHRC to initiate a commission of inquiry to investigate Russian aggression against Ukraine. The U.N also oversees humanitarian assistance and intra-Afghan peace talks. The war in Afghanistan and Ukraine are current global events affecting the role and performance of the U.N.
The United Nations High Commission UNHC confirmed 816 civilian deaths, 59 of whom were children and 1,333 injury casualties as of March 17, 2022 (United Nations, 2022). The U.N. deems this attack as a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. Moreover, the war is a humanitarian crisis due to the scale of death, destruction, and relocation it has caused the Ukrainians. The UNGA has voted for Russia to stop its “offensive” invasion and immediately withdraw its troops from Ukraine. The order was passed after the support of 141 nations in favor of the motion, five in opposition, and 35 absent voters. The rule allowed the UNGA to promote the rule of law and maintain territorial integrity in Ukraine. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights UDHR protects the fundamental human rights to be universally protected and pledges to limit the threat to peace by suppressing aggressive acts (United Nations, 2022). UDHR, therefore, promotes autonomy, fairness, respect, and equality.
The UDHR, however, has a challenge of lack of clear implementation guidelines hence no concrete framework to achieve its projects and goals. The UDHR comprises five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) with absolute veto powers. Article 2 of the U.N. charter grants veto powers to the member states but has been hindering the UNSC’s mission. The member states are split into geopolitical blocks of mainly either the Soviet Union or the U.S. Therefore, to maintain international peace, Russia’s veto power means that the other member states can only impose sanctions through a coalition of the willing. The veto privileges have made Russia barricade the UNSC’s ability to deplore its actions for sustainable peace. Therefore, the U.N. should include more members from African and Latin American counties in the UNSC to overcome the geopolitical influences on its performance.
The Afghanistan war or the Taliban war is a two-decade war in Afghanistan that has currently taken a major turn after Taliban soldiers have made rapid advances. The U.S army supported the Afghanistan military and police fight against the al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. Since the invasion in late 2001 by the U.S government, there have been over 3,500 deaths and nearly 6 million refugees (Mehrotra, 2022). The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR gives humanitarian response to such international conflicts to offer support to the affected civilians. The increased strength of the Taliban made the U.S withdraw many of its troops from Ukraine. The UNSC peacekeeping keeping mission did not intervene in Afghanistan but rather established the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan UNAMA to lay the foundation for sustainable peace and growth in Afghanistan (UNAMA, 2022). UNAMA is a ‘special political mission’ mainly funded by the U.S. UNAMA remained after the U.S troops were evacuated from Afghanistan to provide humanitarian support.
UNAMA does not perform its duty to protect civilians from armed conflict in Afghanistan. Recently the Taliban have proved cooperation by protecting civilians and undertaking other humanitarian acts. UNAMA is rallying for global support to confront the challenges faced by Afghan forces, such as hunger and despair. The dominance of the Taliban in a nation with strong localized resistance does not, however, guarantee peace under the Taliban’s rule. The Taliban demands the evacuation of all foreign forces from Afghanistan for peace and stability (Mehrotra, 2022).
Moreover, there are risks of attack from Al-Qaeda, Islamic State-Khorasan, and other hostile groups. Therefore, the U.N. should negotiate peace between the Taliban and the Afghanistan army to join hands and form leadership with majority support for sustainable peace and growth. Total peace in Afghanistan is a prerequisite for all the armed groups to be terminated, remaining with only one governance unit. The U.N. should maintain a presence in Afghanistan and collaborate efforts between the Taliban and Afghanistan forces to create a stable political and socio-economic environment to form sustainable governance.
The U.N. was formed after World War II to maintain global peace and security, offer humanitarian support, and assure human rights. The Ukraine invasion by Russia is a current global event that violates peace, territorial dignity, and sovereignty. Article 2 of the U.N. charter recognizes five states (China, France, Russia, The U.S, and the United Kingdom) with absolute power. Article 2 is therefore preventing UNSC from imposing its actions such as sanctions to enforce global peace and security. The power dynamics in the Afghanistan war have immediately shifted after the Taliban victory. The UNSC should have located more military resources to reinstate the Afghanistan military into power. With the humanitarian demonstration of the Taliban, the U.N. should extend their stay in Afghanistan to avoid the risk of another war from the revolting groups and opposing the public by ensuring majority governance.
Mehrotra, A. (2022). Afghanistan: A case for the right to humanity to be a human right. Web.
UNAMA. (2022). Reports on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Web.
United Nations. (2022). The U.N. and the war in Ukraine: Key information. United Nations Western Europe. Web.